How To Speed Up Local Area Networks

Image Credit: neoterra

A computer LAN (local area network) is essential for connecting multiple computers within a specific area to the outside world. External connections are often made to the Internet, although for large organizations they can also be made to networks in other buildings, creating a “WAN” (wide area network).

Businesses and other organizations have been connecting computer systems to others for many decades now, and networking technology has now reached such a stage that it is possible for people to utilize high-speed wireless networking capabilities!

Gone are the days of complex and inefficient networking topologies; today’s computer networking is a plug and play affair! But one thing that hasn’t changed since the days of old is the inevitable network slowdown when there is a lot of constant and heavy usage during the day.

If you are finding that the Internet on your mobile phone is faster than your fixed-line broadband or fibre, or transferring files between your computer and the server is too slow, there are some practical steps that you can take to speed up your local area network.

Upgrade your infrastructure

One of the first things you should look at doing is upgrading your networking infrastructure.

Although most modern computer networks run at speeds of up to 100 megabits (fast Ethernet), individuals, business and other organizations are realizing the benefits of upgrading to faster Gigabit Ethernet, which offers networking speeds of up to 1 gigabit (or 1,000 megabits).

Existing CAT5e cabling supports Gigabit Ethernet speeds, so all that you need to do is upgrade your network’s switches, routers and network-attached devices to support these faster speeds.

Most desktop and laptop computers support Gigabit Ethernet as standard, but it is possible to upgrade those that do not.

Upgrade your computers

Sometimes it isn’t necessarily the networking infrastructure that can cause network slowdowns, but rather the limitations of your own computer systems!

Generally speaking, if your computers are forever showing hourglasses (or spinning beach balls in the case of Mac systems), you could probably benefit from upgrading these systems to newer ones with better specifications.

Although you could upgrade the RAM and perhaps fit SSDs (solid-state drives) to give your computer systems a turbocharged boost, it can often be more cost-effective to replace them with brand new systems running the latest and greatest hardware and operating systems.

Manage network traffic

If you have followed the above tips and your network still isn’t as quick as you think it ought to be, chances are someone is probably eating up a lot of network bandwidth by downloading music and videos without your knowledge!

I highly recommend that you use PCEF (policy enforcer) management on your local area network to limit such traffic to times where most people are going to be out of the office, such as between the hours of 8pm to 6am.

With such network management techniques, you could also completely ban downloads from peer-to-peer file sharing services so that your network users have no choice but to download at home instead!